1. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Character Vs. Plot: At which are you better?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Taylee91, Nov 1, 2010.

    I found out a while ago that I've a better knack for plots. I can just take a simple idea and run with it. Characters? Not so much. I struggle with them quite a bit. Hopefully this flaw of mine will grow weaker as I write more.

    What about you guys? What aspect are you better at forming?
     
  2. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    I kind of see them as connected- character informs plot, plot develops character. But I prefer working with characters, and I at least like to think that characterisation is the best part of my writing.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely characters, since they shape my plot. I just come up with a vague outline and it's only when I put people in it that things start coming together and all the little details start working themselves out. I wouldn't be able to plot without characters.
     
  4. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Actually, I am not so sure. Like for example I posted a story for review "Un-freeze" few weeks ago, people seem to like it, but I am not sure if they like it because of the plot or because of the chars. While writing my stories I give equal importance to the plot and the char. Again, I am unsure which one I am better at.
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me, plot is what happens when you put character through something interesting. Hence character is for me always the basis for the plot.

    I'm great at characters. And I'm great at when I have some characters create meaningful situations for them to face, and then connecting this scenes to a meaneing whole. But the character is always the baseline for me, and the situation they face and the overall story never only gets as good as the characters.
     
  6. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    I'm definitely better with my characters.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Characters. I always start with characters. I write scenes involving characters I think are interesting and gradually from that a plotline emerges. Plot is what the characters do. I can't really understand the approach of inventing a plot and then designing characters to go through the motions of acting it out. That seems bass-ackwards to me.
     
  8. MissPomegranate
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    MissPomegranate Member

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    Characters. My plots depends on my characters, not the other way around.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't feel/notice any difference... plots have come to me without any trouble and the characters for them 'dropped in' just as easily... they seem to be equally effective, so i can't say i'm any better or worse at either one...
     
  10. Zombie_Chinchilla
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    Zombie_Chinchilla Member

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    While I tend to start with plots and add characters as I see fit, they do tend to fall together. Though, when looking at the big picture, I think my stories are more plot-driven. The characters and character development, etc, just fall in with the plot.
     
  11. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    While I believe the two topics - characters and plots - to be intertwined, I do still view them as separate pieces.

    Truthfully, and not to be remotely egotistical here, but I believe I excel at both, just not all the time. For example; I have been writing on RPG forum boards for years now, and I've grown very attached to a few characters, namely Ryoko, Lilix, and Kelly. These characters hold the most hold on me, and I tend to pour the majority of my passion into not just them as characters, but their plot-lines as well. Where as other in other examples, my characters like Cailean, Cain, Dimitri, Arabella, and so-on-and-so-forth don't hold as much voice or work as well with the stories I give them, in a way. I guess you could say I give them good story-lines to work with, but it doesn't flow as amazingly as when I write the same story with Kelly or Lilix.
     
  12. throughthepeephole
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    throughthepeephole Member

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    Plot definitely. I never feel like my characters do the story justice. I often find myself disliking my own characters, which sucks. Anyone got any advice on how to prevent this?
     
  13. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    While this is probably best in another topic, since it goes off topic in this thread, I'll ask anywho: You'll want to elaborate here on your statement. What is it you dislike about your characters?
     
  14. throughthepeephole
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    throughthepeephole Member

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    I'm not sure...I guess I just never find myself believing in them, which makes me think 'why would anyone else if I don't?'. So I scrap them, keep the same basic plotline, start again, and repeat the process. There's always something not right...they're too perfect, they're too flawed, I can never envisage them properly in my head, which instantly makes the whole thing seem unrealistic.
     
  15. Agent Vatani
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    Agent Vatani Active Member

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    I great at plots, I find a lot of them. But for a plot you need characters, right?
    But I only get around 10 good characters, I get the mains ones down greatly. But you next side ones and ect... Just I can't keep up with them... It's weird, it takes me just as long to come up with a character as a plot. Which normally plots take longer.
     
  16. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    With mine being first person present tense - my characters are in someways the plots. I love both my characters and my stories. My weaknesses are more technical and sometimes having too much plot.
     
  17. Agent Vatani
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    Agent Vatani Active Member

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    To much plot? Nah just make one then one book/story. But I started outlining, outlining help with characters. But I love my plots and most of my characters too.
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have too many plot ideas for my own good - since last February I have written one completed YA story (60K), one completedish first draft (95K), one other first draft started (30K) and my NaNo is underway (hence the the third one being halted - 26K as of today). My stories have a lot going for them but I am concerned there are not enough periods of reflection - nearly every chapter has an action sequence often more than one.

    On top of that are the ideas that didn't make - other stories planned and the thousands of words I have deleted. My husband cringes when I delete a whole novel worth lol

    I now have three series of books planned using the same world and some of same characters - one YA series, one Adult Trilogy and one Time Travel set 100 years in the future. With Merlin and Alice in Wonderland getting together in my time travel book there is a further YA series idea there. Going backwards there is a couple of stories in the world history that would be fun to write etc. Then I have to get back to my character blogs.

    I have too much plot and I am just concerned it could be my downfall.
     
  19. Agent Vatani
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    Agent Vatani Active Member

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    Once I was 10 and came up with a good plot but only wrote 500 words, so I kept the plot and you shouldn't just threw things away. I used it do that, yeah nothing perfect but try. Once I started a beginning of a new plot I got 1000 words and hated it so I trashed it.
    Trashing it is not a good thing unless the story/book really sucks.
    Just pick out your favorite parts of the book and go with it.
     
  20. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure why I need to keep them? - I will by next year have four books and several short stories completed. I haven't been writing since I was ten, being a writer was never on my radar. I have had stories in my head for twenty years they were my means of escaping difficult times figured as a teen it was better than drink or drugs. I started writing them by accident they were never meant for anyone else ugh you just reminded me I have the Crown Prince Lorenzo stories I started with lol he hasn't even been born yet in two of my stories and is already dead in another, it was his story I had in my head. I have told his parents, great grandaughter and Uncle's stories have yet to start on his - if I run out of ideas I can just stop writing or start working on the historical stories I want to do, there is an endless supply of them. I have accomplished more than I ever set out to do.

    All keeping it does is complicate matters for me - I have too many ideas anyway. When I have a new idea, I find deleting the story back to incorporate it allows the story to flow better - for example when my story needed to resurrect the Crown Prince (I killed off what is perhaps now my biggest character in third chapter of my first book) - I had to go back in and find ways for him to come alive. When my falcon changed from a peregrine to a Great White Falcon my surroundings needed to change. I deleted about 10,000 words in order to change the way the city and beach looked allowing him places to camouflage. I now notice patched stories when I am reading books. Having said that the patched and seamless analogy gave me a whole new idea for a story involving time travel and quilts lol For me my bestfriend in keeping my stories fresh and moving forward is the delete key. If I don't like the direction of a story I will change it etc Only completed drafts get kept.
     
  21. Agent Vatani
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    Agent Vatani Active Member

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    Yeah I started writing since I was in second grade.
    You need to keep the stories you have not finished because you can re-read it then find mistakes to fix them. I do that and people I know do that too, so that's one idea to keep them.

    I had a problem like that, the plot was just ugh... I have to many plots and I would get them mix up, I had to many ideas for one plot.. But most writer's changed a book about twenty time or more before publishing. Sometimes they even re-write the whole thing over and over again. I have a friend who published a book.
    Stories I don't like my friends like and they say, ''don't trash it." So you might need to lowing your ideas.. Just suggesting.
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't have any stories that I haven't finished or won't be finishing - I have some short stories I don't always refine etc. It is only plot ideas I don't use I delete.
     
  23. Agent Vatani
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    Agent Vatani Active Member

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    Oh I see, I have the some problem. I have to many plots and just can't grip one because to many floating around in my mind. But just grab one of your favorites and stick with it.
     
  24. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I got a feel for both actually. My trouble is usually integrating the two. :p I often get good plot ideas, and I often get good people to put in these plots. Just gotta make everything fit. :p
     
  25. lumivalko
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    lumivalko Member

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    Definitely characters.
    At the moment, I've characters with histories and all, but no plot. I'm not good with plots.
     

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